CDC-backed Globeleq breaks ground on pioneering solar and storage power project in Cuamba, Mozambique

14 Jun 2021

Globeleq, Africa’s independent power producer, and the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), the infrastructure development and finance organisation, announced that it had officially broken ground on the pioneering 19MWp solar and 7MWh storage power project at Cuamba in northern Mozambique, bringing clean power and jobs to the region. Globeleq is majority-owned by CDC Group, the UK's development finance institution (DFI) and impact investor.

The $32m project marks a major milestone as it will be one of the first IPP grid-scale storage plants in sub-Saharan Africa. The Cuamba Solar project will provide clean energy to 18,000 households and support job creation in Niassa, one of the country's poorest provinces with an electrification rate of just over 20 per cent.

The project will increase Mozambique’s insufficient power supply by adding clean energy to the Northern grid. By combining grid-connected solar with a battery storage component, the project will help solve network management issues and, by allowing some of the solar power to be shifted to different times of the day, helps avoid transmission losses from distant existing sources of supply.

The technology for battery storage is nascent and uptake of utility scale solutions remains limited globally. Currently, grants and concessional finance are often required to demonstrate the value of this emerging, but potentially transformative technology. Together with PIDG, CDC Plus (CDC’s technical assistance facility), has provided a grant to Globeleq for the 2MW / 7MWh storage solution alongside the 19MWp of solar power. In line with CDC’s ambition to catalyse uptake of storage solutions across Sub-Saharan Africa, CDC Plus will also provide support to capture and disseminate learnings around the battery component’s operational, economic, and development impact.

Globeleq has been actively developing the project since 2019 alongside its local partners, Source Energia and Electricidade de Moçambique (EDM), the state-owned electricity company, which also is the off-taker for the power.

The Mozambique Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Dr Ernesto Max Tonela, Nnenne Iwuji, the British High Commissioner to Mozambique and Aud Marit Wiig, the Norwegian Ambassador were key guests at the event.

Chris Chijiutomi, Head of Infrastructure Equity, CDC Group said: “Providing access to power is an essential part of driving economic development across Africa. We acquired Globeleq in 2015 with 1,200MW of operational power plants. Today, Globeleq has more than 1,400 MW operational power plants in 28 locations across six countries, with a further 305 MW in construction and more than 500 MW due to reach financial close in 2021, of which Cuamba is a part.

We are delighted to be supporting Mozambique’s demand for new renewable energy supply across the country; 7 in 10 people in Mozambique today do not have access to electricity and 53% of firms report electrical outages. Robust storage technologies are fundamental for the transition to clean energy. CDC will continue to devote our capital and technical expertise to innovative uses in the power sector, focused on the path to sustainable energy systems for inclusive growth in our Africa markets.”

Jonathan Hoffman, Globeleq’s Chief Development Officer said: “This project is a trailblazer for future utility-scale energy storage in Mozambique and the region. Cuamba Solar Power, along with all the energy projects we are working on, cements our ongoing commitment to contribute to the long-term energy security and development of the country on a low carbon pathway.”

Emilio Cattaneo, Head of PIDG TA said: “Promoting battery storage solutions alongside green, renewable electricity generation plants is of enormous importance to Africa's economic development and the world's efforts to manage climate change. Mozambique is leading positive change and PIDG is proud to be involved with bringing the new plant to life.”

Nnenne Iwuji, British High Commissioner to Mozambique: “’The UK Government is proud to be working through CDC and Globeleq to bring much-needed power to this part of the country. We hope that this pioneering Cuamba Solar Power Project with innovative technology can be replicated throughout the region with the aim of bringing access to energy for all. The UK Government is actively partnering with Mozambique on the development of its renewable energy potential, through investments such as this, as well as through our BRILHO-Energy Africa programme which encourages private sector investment in off-grid energy solutions. The UK looks forward to continuing to work closely with Mozambique in the run-up to COP26 and beyond, to identify and support opportunities for sustainable, long-term green growth, investment and jobs.”

This commitment contributes to UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy) and 13 (Climate Action).

-ENDS-

Media Contact: 

CDC: Clare Murray | cmurray@cdcgroup.compress@cdcgroup.com  

Globeleq: Fiona Gonyea | Fiona.gonyea@globeleq.com

About CDC 

  1. Globeleq, directly owned by CDC and the partner DFI, Norfund, is a leading private-sector developer and operator of electricity generation in sub-Saharan Africa.
  1. CDC Group is the UK’s impact investor with over 70 years of experience of successfully supporting the sustainable, long-term growth of businesses in South Asia and Africa.
  1. CDC is a leading player in the fight against climate change and a UK champion of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – the global blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for us all.  
  1. The company has investments in over 1,200 businesses in emerging economies and a total portfolio value of $6.2bn. This year CDC aims to invest up to $1.75bn in companies in Africa and Asia with a focus on fighting climate change, empowering women and creating new jobs and opportunities for millions of people. 
  1. CDC is funded by the UK government and all proceeds from its investments are reinvested to improve the lives of millions of people in Africa and South Asia. 
  1. CDC’s expertise makes it the perfect partner for private investors looking to devote capital to making a measurable environmental and social impact in countries most in need of investment. 
  1. CDC Plus is the CDC Group’s dedicated technical assistance and support facility. The role of CDC Plus is to support our investees to achieve even more impact by providing technical assistance to make a lasting difference to the lives of underserved groups. Using our experience as an impact investor in emerging markets, we identify and create opportunities that are beyond the scope of returnable capital. CDC Plus is funded by UKAid from the British people.

About the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG)

The Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) is an innovative infrastructure development and finance organisation which encourages and mobilises private investment in pioneering infrastructure in the frontier markets of sub-Saharan Africa and south and south-east Asia to promote economic development and combat poverty. PIDG delivers its ambition in line with its values of opportunity, accountability, safety, integrity and impact. Since 2002, PIDG has supported 157 infrastructure projects to financial close and provided 209 million people with access to new or improved infrastructure. PIDG is funded by six governments (the UK, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Australia, Sweden, Germany) and the IFC. PIDG TA can provide technical assistance and capital grants to the PIDG companies to meet a range of needs associated with an infrastructure project’s life-cycle. PIDG TA can also provide up-front viability gap funding grants to support PIDG projects that require concessional funding to make a project with strong development impact financeable.  To find out more visit:  www.pidg.org

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